c. 1300, "strike suddenly and violently," also "move quickly, rush violently," and, transitive, "cause to strike suddenly and violently;" probably from a Scandinavian source (compare Swedish daska, Danish daske "to beat, strike"), somehow imitative. The oldest sense is that in dash to pieces and dashed hopes. Meaning "scatter or sprinkle" (something, over something else) is by 1520s. Intransitive meaning "write or sketch hurriedly" is by 1726 in dash off. By 1800 as a euphemism for damn. Related: Dashed; dashing.